NSW Workers' Compensation System has Ample Resources to Maintain Benefits

The workers' compensation system in NSW has been dramatically scaled back and restructured since the current state government came to office in 2011.  Real benefit payouts have been cut by 30 percent, with the resulting "savings" passed on to employers in lower premiums (down 40 percent over the past decade).  Yet injured workers continue to bear the real cost of these changes, with benefit cuts (and further premium cuts) still occurring.  Over 4000 workers will have their monthly benefits cancelled entirely later this month.

The changes were all justified by a supposed fiscal "emergency" that existed in 2011, but that deficit was exaggerated and mostly the result of temporary factors connected to the Global Financial Crisis.  Now the system boats a large and growing accumulated surplus.  Annual financial reports released by the NSW workers insurance scheme last week confirm that the system has ample financial reserves with which to fund the maintenance and improvement of benefits for injured workers.

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Job Opportunity: Research Economist

The Centre for Future Work invites applications for an economist to join our research team in labour market research and policy analysis, working from our offices in Sydney or Canberra.

Deadline for applications is December 21 2017.

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Unpaid Overtime Diverts $130 billion Per Year

2017 marks the ninth annual Go Home On Time Day (GHOTD), an initiative of the Centre for Future Work at the Australia Institute aimed at highlighting the incidence of overwork among Australians, including excessive overtime (often unpaid). To investigate the prevalence of overwork and unpaid overtime, we commissioned a survey of over 1400 Australians on the incidence of overwork and Australian attitudes toward it. The results are surprising.

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Job Growth No Guarantee of Wage Growth

Measured by official employment statistics, Australia's labour market has improved in recent months: full-time employment has grown, and the official unemployment rate has fallen. But dig a little deeper, and the continuing structural weakness of the job market is more apparent. In particular, labour incomes remain unusually stagnant. In this commentary, Centre for Future Work Associate Dr. Anis Chowdhry reflects on the factors explaining slow wage growth -- and what's required to get wages growing.

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The Unintended Consequences of Public Sector Wage Restraint

Budget-cutting political leaders regularly target the jobs and incomes of public sector workers as the first and most politically convenient target of their austerity measures. But their crusade to balance the books by downsizing headcounts, intensifying work, and freezing the pay of the workers who deliver essential public services can backfire. In this new report, Troy Henderson and Jim Stanford consider the unintended consequences of one prominent austerity measure: the cap on public sector wage increases that has been in place in New South Wales since 2011.

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Wage Suppression a Time Bomb in Superannuation System

The record-slow pace of wage growth in Australia’s economy is not just making it difficult for families to balance their budgets, it also threatens severe long-run damage to Australia’s superannuation retirement system.  That’s the finding of new research from the Centre for Future Work at the Australia Institute.

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June GDP Numbers Confirm Lopsided Economy

This week the ABS released new GDP data, covering the June quarter, which confirm the continuing structural shift away labour toward capital in the distribution of income.

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Senate Testimony on Cutting Penalty Rates

Our Director Jim Stanford was requested to testify before the Senate's Education and Employment References Committee on August 24, 2017 regarding the Fair Work Commission's decision to cut penalty rates for work on Sundays and public holidays in four major sectors of the economy: retail, hospitality, pharmacy, and fast food.

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New Research Symposium on Work in the "Gig Economy"

The informal work practices of the so-called “gig” economy are widening existing cracks in Australia’s system of labour regulations, and should be repaired through active measures to strengthen labour standards in digital businesses.  That is the conclusion of newly-published research from a special symposium on "Work in the Gig Economy," organised by the Centre for Future Work. 

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Australia's Precarious Labour Market: More Coverage

Public concern continues to grow regarding the erosion of traditional jobs, and the rise of more insecure, precarious positions -- including part-time, term-limited, labour hire, and independent contractor positions. The Centre for Future Work continues to research this phenomenon, and the policy measures which would help to improve standards in non-standard jobs, and encourage employers to create more secure positions. Recent media coverage has featured our research on these issues:

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